Simulated Mars mission shows good sleep is critical
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Astronauts chosen for a manned mission to Mars could be in serious trouble if their sleep patterns are disrupted on the lengthy journey, a 520 day simulation has found.
"The success of human interplanetary spaceflight, which is anticipated to be in this century, will depend on the ability of astronauts to remain confined and isolated from Earth much longer than previous missions or simulations," said Mr David Dinges of the University of Pennsylvania, who co-authored the sleep study.
"This is the first investigation to pinpoint the crucial role that sleep-wake cycles will play in extended space missions."
Six volunteers - three Russians, two Europeans and one Chinese - climbed down a hatch into a 550 cu m confinement facility in Russia on June 3, 2010 to study the psychological and medical impacts of a long-term deep space flight.